Why We Made a Lower Caffeine Pre-Workout

The two pieces of feedback we receive most often from customers regarding our pre-workout products surround the great taste of Red Leaf and the fact that it doesn’t cause jitters or excessive racing of the heart.   For those few complaints we receive, they are often focused on the fact that the customer didn’t “feel” an effect from taking Red Leaf.   Earlier this week we took a look at Red Leaf compared to a competitor’s product (see blog here) that uses higher doses of caffeine, so today we want to take a deeper dive into the caffeine question itself and discuss why we believe what we believe about the levels of caffeine in Red leaf Pre-Workout.


Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical stimulant that can be found in many plants, such as coffee beans, tea leaves Kola nuts and Cacoa pads (used to make chocolate!).   Caffeine is absorbed quickly into the body and stimulates the central nervous system and can increase heart rate.  As any morning coffee drinker will tell you, consuming this natural stimulant in coffee, tea, soda or any other morning drink can increase alertness and make one feel more awake and present.  This happens because the caffeine travels to your brain and influences neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and acetylcholine. Moderate doses of caffeine have also been shown in certain studies to improve reaction time, wakefulness and concentration.  However, there are some negative side effects to caffeine as well.  It can disrupt sleep patterns, increase blood pressure, increase stomach acid and, some studies have shown, make it more difficult for people with Type-2 diabetes to manage blood sugar levels.


In moderate doses, yes.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the maximum level of caffeine consumption considered safe is no more than 400mg per day. That is equivalent to about four to five 8 oz cups of coffee per day.  Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to determine how much caffeine you are getting.  A normal mug you might pull out of your cabinet or a mug served at a coffee shop can hold 16 oz or more.  To put it into perspective, a grande Pike Place Roast coffee at Starbucks has 310mg of caffeine, a large Dunkin Donuts coffee has 300mg of caffeine and a large Diet Coke from McDonald’s has 95mg of caffeine.  It is quite easy to go through a normal day and approach the maximum recommended level of caffeine without much thought.  So, while moderate doses of caffeine are safe, not paying attention to the level of caffeine we consume throughout the day can cause many of the undesirable consequences in our body before we know it.


Studies have shown that a moderate dose of caffeine taken before a workout can have positive effects during the workout itself.  Caffeine has been documented to increase awareness and focus during workouts, increase endurance during aerobic exercise, reduce fatigue and reduce muscle pain.  We believe caffeine is an important ingredient to a quality pre-workout drink.  Unfortunately, many pre-workout drinks have large amounts of caffeine in them.  Added to the daily consumption described above, this can lead to excessive feelings of jitters, heart racing and anxiety.


At ISN, we believe caffeine is an important ingredient in a quality pre-workout supplement.  However, with the amount of caffeine most Americans consume in a day, we believe a low-dose of caffeine is better in a pre-workout than a larger dose. In healthy adults, the half-life of caffeine is approximately 5-6 hours, which means your body is retaining a lot of caffeine from your daily consumption.  Therefore, we believe that the effect of a low-dose caffeine intake (40 mg in Red Leaf), or about ½ cup of coffee is just right prior to your workout, especially a mid-day, afternoon or evening workout.  It does not produce jitters and excessive heart rate increases.  We understand that some customers really want to feel those effects and we encourage those customers to use another product.  They will not be satisfied with Red Leaf and we are ok with that.  However, for customers that are concerned about the amount of caffeine they consume and want a quality pre-workout that doesn’t produce a jittery feeling, we think our product is right for them, with the added benefit of being what we believe is the best tasting pre-workout in the market.